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City police crack 4 drug rings

SHANGHAI police have busted four gangs in the city and in Sichuan Province involved in the manufacturing and smuggling of drugs. After a year-long investigation, 24 suspects have been detained and more than 41 kilograms of drugs confiscated, the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said yesterday. One of the gangs even set up a methamphetamine manufacturing mill in an apartment in Shanghai's Baoshan District. In May 2010, police in Shanghai's Hongkou District were tipped about the drug, commonly known as ice, being smuggled into town. After almost six months of detective work, three gangs, led by suspects surnamed Li, Zhang and Zhou, were found trafficking drugs, mostly ice, from Sichuan to Shanghai. As their investigations continued, police found the gangs' suppliers in Sichuan, led by a suspect surnamed Jiang, were planning to establish an underground ice manufacturing mill in Shanghai. "At that time Sichuan police was intensifying their crackdowns on drug-related crimes in the province, so the gang led by Jiang were planning to move their den to Shanghai," said An Wei, an officer with the Hongkou police. After collecting enough evidence, police began to close the net. On March 9, Zhang and three of his gang members were caught with 4.04 kilograms of ice from Sichuan. On March 16, Zhou was caught at his home with 280,000 yuan (US$43,251) in his possession. Police also found 8 kilograms of ice and 180,000 yuan at another residence. On March 28, Li and his gang were caught when they arrived in town from Sichuan with 4.5 kilograms of ice. Jiang and his den in Baoshan District became the final target, police said. Jiang and his gang set up the ice manufacturing mill in a top-floor apartment in a residential area in Baoshan. The gang were equipped with wireless radio-communication devices and kept a close eye on police and security guard patrols in the area. Just before daybreak on April 19, a SWAT team broke into the gang's den through the windows by jumping from the roof. Four suspects were caught at the scene! with 25 kilograms of liquefied ice and a large amount of drug making equipment. All the remaining suspects had been detained by April 20. By the end of May, Shanghai police had solved 1,063 drug cases, with 1,258 suspects detained, already equal to the figures for last year. The total amount of drugs confiscated this year reached 190.5 kilograms, an increase of 31.4 percent over last year's total. "So far there are 31,075 people doing drugs in the city and the number is increasing," Tong told Shanghai Daily. "Displacing heroin, ice has become the main drug product in town and its users vary in ages and jobs."

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